Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Chicago Birds

Here are three pictures of birds taken within a couple of hundred yards of our house.

Long-time readers will recall that there's now a big empty lot across the street. The building that was there was razed in preparation for building 20 very nice houses, that the builder was looking to get $800,000 apiece for. Then something happened to the housing market. You may have heard about it.

So now we have a big empty lot, with two big holes in it that have filled with water. This attracts ducks and geese.

The male mallard hung around for a few days. I'm thinking he has a sad story to tell. Must be very lonely at this time of year.

This morning I was at the computer and heard a bird call I couldn't remember hearing in this neighborhood, so went out looking for what it the world it could be. Turned out to be a common killdeer, but they're not so common in this part of Chicago. My bird book says, "Not only is it abundant and conspicuous, but its loud call compels attention." Yup.

Finally, walking home from working at the food pantry last week I spotted a really unusual sight in the city ("♫ In the city .... ♫In the city♫" [just a sneaky way to send you to my nephews' band]). One neighbor has a garden that's sort of overgrown, in a lush, Garden of Eden sort of way. As I was walking by I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a largish bird walking around in the undergrowth. Luckily I had my camera.

It's actually not in my bird book. I'm pretty sure it's an emu, though. I have no idea how it got there.

Incidentally, there are a couple of really good examples here of why my kid brother, who actually knows something about taking pictures of fauna, always focuses manually, rather than letting the camera decide to focus on -- oh, a nearby stick, say.


troutay said...

That is so interesting that you saw a killdeer. I used to see them a lot as a kid, but haven't seen or heard one in a long time. Imagine my surprise when I looked out the window at work, and there was one peeping at the door. I think it saw itself and thought it was another bird. I had to go out to get the paper, and it ran away. It runs rather like some sort of sand piper. But it was wonderful to see it again.

I think the other bird must have been a wonderfull thing to see. How strange to see it in that setting.

Jeannelle said...

Hey, that's wonderful you are gaining a wildlife preserve in your neigborhood. Killdeer....I love 'em and their call that "compels". They are all over the place around here.

Amazing that you caught that rare bird which I believe is a flightless type. Oddly enough, we have a few like that around here, too.

You have another photographer in the family (great Flickr profile he wrote, especially the part about getting out and taking some pictures. Great advice!

And, your nephew is in a band. My goodness, what an artistic and talented family circle you have!

Anonymous said...

He actually has three nephews in bands, last time I checked, and once had four. Something in the genes, probably.

-Shenandoah Singer

shutterhand said...

Great shot of this little killdeer Bob. They often try and gain your attention with their loud noises. Sometimes it is because you are getting too close to the nest and they want to lead you away. They sometimes fake a broken wing and try to get you to follow them far away. After they are good and far they quickly fly away. Thank you for your nice words and Jeannelle's as well. Easy to mix these birds up with a ruddy turnstone. Good work!